Ahilya Kaul and Yashan Cama’s two-day summer wedding in Tuscany combined Indian traditions with Italian elements
Article By Praachi Raniwala
When you can get married anywhere in the world, how do you narrow down on the perfect destination? For Singapore-based couple Ahilya Kaul and Yashan Cama, it boiled down to a personal connection. The couple was first introduced amidst pandemic-induced lockdowns. So a lot of their dates were spent cooking or watching movies at home. “Yashan is a very talented chef and makes amazing handmade pasta and sauces. He also studied in Florence for a year, and speaks Italian,” says Kaul of her husband, who is a marketing executive. For the bride—a professional dancer, jazz singer and fitness instructor—Italy was the dream spot to execute the romantic and timeless aesthetic she had in mind for their nuptials this June. Moreover, it was a central spot for their 165 guests coming in from the US, Europe and India.
Under the Tuscan sun
Accessibility for their international guests and venues with large capacity solidified their choice. They recced close to 12 venues until they stumbled upon the historic Villa Gamberaia—a 17th-century hilltop villa in the rolling hills of Tuscany, with panoramic views of Florence, which took their breath away. They decided to host the wedding ceremony here on the second evening. The first event was a hybrid sangeet-mehendi party at Serre Torrigiani, a 16th-century botanical ‘secret garden’ with a greenhouse in the heart of Florence that is owned by a Florentine family. “ it was one of the largest private gardens in Europe when it was made. It was also the founding site of Florence’s first football team, much to Yashan’s excitement!” adds the bride.
The pre-wedding rituals for close family members were held at Grand Hotel Minerva, where the guests were staying. Apart from the evening festivities, the days were deliberately relaxed. Guests were encouraged to explore Florence via the optional tours organised by the couple. The bride also created a guide with recommendations of sights, restaurants and boutiques. “One of the mornings, I held a body sculpt class for close friends at a wellness studio. Ayurvedic bowls, and turmeric lattes followed the class, and of course Prosecco!” says Kaul.
All about the details
While the wedding exuded a relaxed vibe, it was also highly detail-oriented. The flow was designed to allow guests to experience different corners of the sprawling property. The wedding was in a forested enclave surrounded by tall cypress trees. The groom, a car lover, arrived in a vintage cream Alfa Romeo accompanied by friends and dholak players. The bride walked down the aisle as her music producer cousin played ‘Edge of Desire’ by John Mayer on his guitar. The ceremony fused the bride and groom’s respective Hindu and Zoroastrian rituals, with a priest from each faith conducting portions of it.
The sunset cocktails were on the garden parapet, where a jazz band held the crowd’s attention. The bride joined them to sing ‘Misty’, as a surprise for her husband. “We are a very musical family,” she laughs. Next, a gorgeous sit-down Tuscan dinner was held in a candlelit, draped marquee. The couple found a boutique Florence-based wine seller who served his Tuscan Nobile di Montepulciano red and Sicilian white wines. In a nearby grotto, their traditional Italian wedding cake was assembled live in front of the guests with sheets of millefoglie pastry, cream and wild berries against a backdrop of giant silk flowers and candles. Champagne followed the cake, as guests headed upstairs to dance the night away to DJ Leo Martera’s music in a limonaia (lemon grove).
The wedding wardrobe
To match her sophisticated mood board and Italian summer vibe, muted pastels were the defining palette for all the looks. Kaul wore versions of pink on both days, both outfits by Anita Dongre. She wore a gharara set and Neety Singh jewellery for the sangeet. Cama complemented her in a beige Italian-style summer suit inspired by a scene in The Godfather and tailored in his hometown London by Erlend Norby of Taliare, a British tailoring house. For the wedding, the bride wore a shell-pink lehenga, with jewellery by Neety Singh and Alpana Kapoo. The groom wore an ivory achkan by Dongre, with his mother-in-law’s emeralds. They exchanged matching Cartier rings engraved with their initials and wedding dates. Kaul designed pistachio, sky blue, and almond sherawani jackets for the men in her family to complement the summer Italian garden mood.
For the afterparty, Kaul slipped into a pearl-toned high neck, low back silk halter maxi dress by Silk Maison, while Cama changed into a bespoke charcoal suit, also by Taliare.
Guests were gifted soaps from Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, a Florentine pharmacy established in 1221 by monks from the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella who grew a herb garden to make salves and medicines for their infirmary. This was accompanied by vintage Italian postcards, lotus motif notecards from India, and confetti—a traditional Italian wedding favour of sugared and chocolate almonds. The bridesmaids additionally received goodies from Kama Ayurveda (“funnily, the name is a combination of our last names, Kaul and Cama!” adds the bride), Anokhi kaftans, handmade notebooks from India, and Chanderi saris. “My family welcomed Yashan’s with Venchi chocolates and Leonardo’s cantucci (almond cookies), typical delicacies of the region,” adds Kaul. “The ultimate idea was to highlight beautiful elements of an Indian wedding along with a unique experience of Florence and Italy for our guests,” says the bride.
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